Pope Francis sent a telegram to Italian president Giorgio Napolitano. The Holy Father, who is on his 7thInternational Apostolic Journey, sent the message Sri Lanka.
President Napolitano resigned from the presidency on Wednesday morning, a position he has held since May 2006. In 2013, he was asked to serve a second term after a deadlock in elections sparked a political crisis in the country. His resignation comes as no surprise as Napolitano has said that he would step down once the government was stable.
In his telegram, the Pope expressed his esteem for the 89 year old head of State’s service to the country, saying that he performed them with “authority, loyalty and tireless dedication to the common good.”
“Your enlightened and wise action has contributed to strengthening within the population the ideals of solidarity, unity and harmony, especially in a European and national context marked by considerable difficulties,” the Holy Father wrote. “I invoke divine assistance for you, your wife and your loved ones, with the assurance of your constant remembrance in my prayers.”
Upon Napolitano’s resignation, the Italian parliament must meet within 15 days to begin elections to choose a new president.